Money

3 Money Tips to Be Thankful For

A smiling family sitting around a Thanksgiving table full of food.

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We should all be grateful for these.


Key points

  • The right guidance could help you avoid financial mistakes.
  • Here are some tips I’m extra grateful for that my parents were kind enough to share.
  • I’m glad I learned early on the importance of emergency savings, not willingly charging more on a credit card than I can afford to pay back, and always having health insurance.

Managing my finances is something that came pretty naturally to me — but only because my parents gave me a solid foundation for it. Through the years, I’ve avoided some potentially bad situations by using the knowledge my parents instilled in me. And I’m particularly grateful for these specific money tips that really apply universally.

1. Always have emergency savings

Growing up, my parents didn’t make a ton of money. We mostly stay-cationed rather than vacationed and almost never went out to eat. But my parents made a point of maintaining emergency savings, and they always explained how important it was for me to do the same.

As such, I’ve been contributing money to my savings account since around 12 years old. That’s when I started working as a babysitter and earning an income (albeit a modest one) of my own.

Through the years, I’ve added to my emergency fund as I was able to. And that money has definitely bailed me out on more than one occasion as an adult.

My home has two air conditioning systems, for example, and both went kaput over the past two years, leaving me with more than $15,000 in replacement costs. Thanks to my savings account, I didn’t have to rack up debt to cover those expenses.

2. Never willingly rack up a credit card balance you can’t pay in full

Some people get stuck having to cover unplanned bills, like medical expenses or car repairs, leaving them with credit card balances to carry forward. Those situations are often unavoidable. But one thing my parents taught me not to do was willingly charge expenses on a credit card I couldn’t pay for in full.

As a result of that good advice, I’ve never had to carry a credit card balance forward and pay interest on one. That’s saved me a large amount of money through the years.

3. Don’t underestimate the importance of health insurance

Even though I wasn’t a particularly rambunctious child, I found my way to the emergency room on more than one occasion. When I got a bit older, I once asked my parents how on earth they managed those ER bills, and my mom explained that she and my father made sure we were always covered with health insurance to keep those costs down.

Since then, I’ve always made a point to have health insurance — even though there was a period in my life when I was tempted to skip out on coverage. In my 20s, I made the leap to self-employment and had to pay for health insurance myself. It was really expensive and I almost dropped my coverage at one point.

But then I remembered my parents’ warning and kept my coverage in place. And about a month later, I wound up in the ER once again. Had it not been for my insurance, I would’ve incurred thousands of dollars in bills from that visit instead of a far more manageable $200 co-pay.

I’m grateful for the fact that I was raised by parents who didn’t shy away from talking about financial issues. It’s definitely led me on a more solid path and helped me avoid what could’ve been some very costly mistakes.

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